August 12, 2000
10:29 PM   Subscribe

Three good pieces from the Sunday Times: New York as viewed through foreign tourist guidebooks (big surprise, the French books are the ones that spend the most time pointing out American inferiority). Jerry Nachman on journalists' overwhelmingly one-sided ideology and their rapidly-decreasing ability to hide it. And Michael Lewis on how TiVo and Replay are going to destroy television as we know it, eek! (And don't miss the videos showing how they blew up the TVs and Kellogg's boxes to get the photographs that accompany the article.)

I don't think the Nachman link will live beyond 11 pm Eastern on Sunday; I couldn't find a longer-lasting link to it. I guess opinion pieces aren't important to the Times.
posted by aaron (9 comments total)

Feh. Anyone who would think that needs a private audience with Ted Nugent.

Wang Dang Sweet Bang Bang!
posted by aaron at 12:00 AM on August 13, 2000

No Sex + No Drugs + Rock & Roll= sXe
Fun for the whole family.
posted by thirteen at 1:13 AM on August 13, 2000

Nachman: It's interesting that his supposed survey that 91 percent of journalists are liberals doesn't have attribution.

In the journalism field this supposed fact is a chestnut. Fact is, most newspapers owners and columnists, that is, the editorial opinionmakers and the faces of a newspaper, are conservative (I don't have an attribution either, but then, I'm not published in the New York Times).
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:35 AM on August 13, 2000

I think I may have found the so-called "accepted study" that claims journalists overwhelmingly voted for Clinton. It's mentioned in this op-ed piece by a writer with a higher standard of attribution than Nachman:

Most recently the debate was inflamed in 1996
when the Roper Center/Freedom Forum released
results from a questionnaire answered by 139
Washington reporters and bureau chiefs. Of those
surveyed, 89 percent said they supported Clinton in
1992 compared with just 7 percent who favored
George Bush. Furthermore, 61 percent described
themselves as "liberal" or "liberal to moderate" as
opposed to the 9 percent classifying themselves as

Nachman doesn't even get the percentage right on his "accepted study." This 89 percent of journalists voted for Clinton nugget is adored by conservatives, but it's a bogus factoid. You can't assume that the 139 journalists in Washington are indicative of the country as a whole. Well, you can, if you're a conservative with a persecution complex who doesn't mind tossing out falsehoods to make a point.

posted by rcade at 6:48 AM on August 13, 2000

It's also worth remembering that (at least in Britain, where there's more of a truly national press) the papers which tend to dominate market share, and consequently have the greatest capacity to influence reader opinion, are conservative in their leanings. While I don't subscribe to the idea that elections are decided by the directives of The Sun, I'm certain that it does more to define the political agenda than the liberal press.

That said, the BBC has an avowedly progressive and internationalist edge to its journalism, which I don't have any problems with at all: in fact, I see it as an essential part of Lord Reith's "mission to inform". It's offset by a parochial conservatism in its programming and a statutory obligation to political impartiality.
posted by holgate at 11:55 AM on August 13, 2000

*applauds rcade*
posted by wiremommy at 12:56 PM on August 13, 2000

Having worked in print and broadcast journalism, I would say that most people I ran across (owners, managers, directors, reporters, etc) are conservative. I'm not talking about Republican conservative, I'm talking about status-quo conservative. For someone like that, it doesn't matter who they vote for, or what their supposed party affiliation is-- the journalistic brand of conservatism supercedes many specific issues of the day, and has more to do with a faith in the overriding belief system of the nation. While every once in a while people would complain when we were tacitly forbidden to cover X because ownership also owned part of Y, which owned X, the presiding sentiment was pragmatism-- move on to something else, and cover that instead. So while those on the more extreme right complain that the press is overly liberal, they ignore the fact that their counterparts on the more extreme left are saying the exact opposite thing.
posted by chaz at 2:48 PM on August 13, 2000

There has been at least one statistically credible survey of media bias, conducted in 1998 by David Croteau of Virginia Commonwealth University, and the results should conform pretty much with common sense. On so called "social issues" (e.g., gay rights, abortion rights, etc), bureau chiefs and ordinary journalists are to the left of the American public at large. However, on economic issues, especially issues related to trade (NAFTA, MAI etc), journalists are markedly more conservative than the people. Both of these results are to be expected given that, in the US, media outlets are largely in private hands and generate revenue largely from advertising -- and are therefore structurely suited to the promotion of corporate interests. This is basic economics.

Here is the study itself.

And here is FAIR's summary of it.

The interesting thing is that common claims of media bias, from both right and left, are mostly correct. As FAIR notes: "Clinton's mix of moderately liberal social policies and moderately conservative economic policies fits well with 'the views expressed by journalists.'" Personally I would like to see much greater diversity of opinion and perspective in the mainstream media (again, right and left). However, that is simply not going to happen, for structural reasons, if there is no democratic accountability, and no responsibility except to the narrow interests of shareholders.

One solution: boycott big media and support noncorporate, democratic media.
posted by johnb at 3:01 PM on August 13, 2000

And American coffee does indeed suck.
posted by tranquileye at 7:23 PM on August 13, 2000

« Older Do you take this blogger   |   We need a Great Pyramid. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments